31 Days of Horror: Sleepy Hollow

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31 Days of Horror makes up for missing Thursday with the Tim Burton film Sleepy Hollow. This is one of my favorite Tim Burton films. I really enjoyed Batman and Batman Returns, and Sweeny Todd was okay. But Sleepy Hollow is a visually stunning and thrill-filled cinematic pleasure.

Johnny Depp knocks another role out of the park as Ichabod Crane, a man sent to the town of Sleepy Hollow in the midst of a spree of beheadings. The weak-kneed Crane is rather out his element at first, but soon finds himself in the midst of discovering a plot far more sinister than he could ever imagine.

Depp, as always, delivers a great performance as Crane. He always gives 110%, which is why Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates movie has become such a indelible figure in pop culture. I only wish he had been able to bring that resonance and quirkiness to his role as John Dillinger in the Public Enemies.

Like most Burton films, this one has a style and look all its own that pulls you into the world of the story. Everything from the fog to the blood has a unique look that places the film on a new level from most period horror films.

And lest we forget the amazing Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman, whose close-up in the movie right before he give Miranda Richardson’s character a bloody kiss hello is one of my favorite moments. His look is both chilling and makes you say the phrase, “Hey, baby. Let’s get it on” due to Walken’s expression.

A lot of heads roll (literally) in this film, and there’s plenty of gore to go around. What makes this film equally impressive is the engaging and complex story that dimensionalizes the characters and enables empathy from the audience.

You’ll notice a lot of familiar faces throughout the film, including Christina Ricci (Speed Racer), Michael Gough (Alfred the Butler in the first four Batman movies), Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies), Casper Van Dien (Dracula 3000), Jeffrey Jones (Deadwood), and Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies).

With its stunning visuals and its unique take on the Washington Irving story, Sleepy Hollow is a must-see for Johnny Depp fans, Tim Burton fans, or for movie lovers looking for something different.